By Joey Aguilar/Staff Reporter
The GCC region, including Qatar, has become one of the most important source markets for German tourism due to the long stays and the above-average purchasing power of visitors, an official of the German National Tourist Office (GNTO) – Gulf Countries has told Gulf Times.
“The Gulf region is among the top 20 of the most important source markets to Germany, and the third largest source market outside Europe, after China and the US,” said GNTO – Gulf Countries communication manager Nermin Abushnaf.
As a travel destination, she stressed that Germany is popular and established since many years due to its attractive tourist portfolio.
Travellers from the region usually stay 11 nights and spend more than the usual – around €4,683 euros per person/trip, according to Abushnaf.
According to the latest forecast from the German National Tourist Board (GNTB), Gulf region nationals visiting Germany are expected to increase to 3.6mn overnight stays by 2030, compared with 1.8mn guests recorded in 2018.
Abushnaf said that many people travel to different parts of Germany for business and medical reasons, apart from leisure and holiday visits.
“Germany is known for its advanced and high-quality healthcare system, as often travelled with family members. This aspect certainly plays a role in the selection of a medical tourism destination, especially when it comes to longer treatments,” she said.
Abushnaf added that Germany’s healthcare system is among the best in the world, where hospitals and clinics across the country offer high quality standards and excellent value for money. Due to its extensive healthcare infrastructure and diverse range of advanced treatment, she noted that Germany attracts significant numbers of patients from the Gulf region.
German hospitals, which cover a wide spectrum, specialise in areas ranging from internal medicine to oncology right through to cardiovascular diseases, which are constantly on the rise, Abushnaf said. She said top German doctors working in various medical disciplines received worldwide recognition for their basic and clinical research. “By establishing close co-operation within networks of specialists, they guarantee the best care at the cutting edge of all medical fields.”
“From preventative care to rehabilitation or treatment for acute cases, around 2,000 hospitals offer visitors and patients from all over the world the highest standards of care. This involves using the latest technologies, ensuring transparent quality and hiring the best, most highly trained doctors,” Abushnaf noted. Besides being closer to their homeland than other countries such as the US, she said many Arab travellers also find Germany more affordable. With its high-quality hospitals and professional medical care, it matches the expectations in the region.
“Many hospitals and clinics are perfectly equipped to accommodate Gulf travellers and have special ‘comfort zones’ so that patients and their accompanying family members are provided with privacy,” Abushnaf said. “It is also common to meet Arabic speaking staff, familiar with Islamic culture and tradition.”
GNTO is scheduled to hold a roadshow in Doha on October 20, hosted by German ambassador Hans-Udo Muzel and in partnership with Qatar Airways. It aims to promote Germany as a year-round travel destination. “We look forward to welcoming more tourists from the region to our beautiful country. It also has great family attractions, excellent shopping centres and superb sightseeing opportunities – visitors will be fascinated by the incredible diversity that Germany has to offer,” Abushnaf added.
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